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Can I Still Apply for a CNA If I Have a Petty Theft on My Record?

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Applying for a license as a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, with a petty theft on your record can be a challenging experience. The state licensing board can investigate your claim and require more information or several additional steps before issuing a decision on your license. Consult with a licensed attorney for specific information about your case.

Petty Theft

Petty theft is the unlawful taking of property that belongs to someone else. Not only does it include all shoplifting crimes, but it also includes the removal of any property of a set amount. Each state sets in its own dollar limit on theft crimes that separates grand theft from petty theft. For example, the amount of an item taken in California must be beneath the amount of $950 to be a petty theft crime, while Colorado has a three-tier system. There, a theft is a class 2 misdemeanor if the value is below $500, a class 1 misdemeanor if the cost falls between $500 and $1,000, and a class 4 felony between $1,000 and $2,000.


A certified nursing assistant is responsible for assisting nurses and doctors in caring for patients and their health care needs. These services can include personal care activities, such as bathing, dressing or feeding a patient, or can entail more directly related medical duties, such as dressing wounds or checking vital signs. Normally this position works under the supervision of a registered or licensed practical nurse.

License Requirement

In addition to educational requirements and passing the state test to become a CNA, most states request disclosure of a criminal history in the application before taking fingerprints to conduct a background check. This background check goes through a national criminal database and provides the state board with an applicant’s criminal history. If you have a petty theft on your record, the board will receive this information during a background check, so it is advisable to include it on your application.

Apply with Record

Once the board receives information regarding a criminal history, an investigative process begins. This can include submission of the court records or plea agreement, a statement detailing the reasons surrounding the crime, or an in-depth hearing with a member of the staff. The board will review how long ago the crime was committed and the steps toward rehabilitation. Upon a total review of the application, a decision will issue to either grant or deny the license. Most states do have an appeal process if a license is denied. A denial letter should contain the procedures to follow for an appeal.


Angelique de la Morreaux began writing articles for various websites in 2010. Her focus is in the legal, small business, beauty, holiday, culture, food, drinks and automotive categories. Morreaux holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from San Diego State University.

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